It's actually hard to believe, but I met Angela through Instagram probably close to 4 years ago now (although it seemed like we'd known each other our whole lives). She reached out to me and shared that she was motivated by my inspirational posts and the fact that I was a female entrepreneur. She joined my team of female business builders at the time, called Team Inspire, and that was it .... we were instant friends!
Angela and I were definitely supposed to meet and we became close very quickly! She was fighting cancer and had been for a number of years, however, Angela always took the stance that she was surviving and thriving with cancer. She would never say she was sick or dying of cancer. She truly did appreciate life and lived every day to the fullest. No matter what cancer threw her way, she would meet it with a smile and fearless attitude.
Team Inspire was made up of a handful of women and we were spread across the country. We would meet weekly, via video call, to discuss life and chasing our dreams. This allowed us all to become extremely close and I view these ladies as my sisters. It was a sisterhood of tremendous love and support for us all.
A few years back, Angela's cancer started to spread and she had to make a really big decision. She had to decide if she was going to remove both of her breasts, in an effort to beat this cancer. I remember talking with her about this decision and it was a really tough one for her. She was able to get beyond the fear of the actual procedure but I could tell she felt as if she was being stripped of her womanhood. In the game of surviving cancer though, you have to do what you have to do - so she went through with it. For the next several months, Angela had to adjust to her new flat chest and that took some time but it was worth it because the Dr's felt they got all of the cancer. We began to celebrate Angela's new life free of cancer!! Little did we know but this celebration would be very temporary.
Just a few short months later, in the fall of 2015, I went to Kentucky on my first traveling coaching gig. I went to help Tracy, one of my Team Inspire sisters, recover from surgery. While I was there, I received a call from Angela who was in a state of shock because she had learned that her cancer was back and in fact spreading. I remember feeling shocked and having a moment on the phone where we just cried together. We had been celebrating her starting a new chapter in her life - cancer free! I immediately said, "Can I come to you?" and she said, "Yes - that would be amazing!" I was still in Kentucky and had no idea how I was going to get to Philly before heading back to Seattle but I knew very strongly I needed to be there. Tracy and I sat down and talked about it and she stepped up and did something I'll never forget. She said to me, "It's important you go to her and I want to help." Tracy proceeded to book me a flight from Kentucky to Philly, using her airline miles, so I could be with our sister. At that moment, the 3 of us forged a very special bond that will forever be etched into my heart!
I flew to Philly and hugged my sister Angela in person for the very first time. We spent an amazing couple of days together, that I will carry with me always. We meditated everyday, I did reiki on her, we explored the city, looked up healthy cancer fighting foods, cried, laughed, loved and everything in between. I left Philly with my heart so full, despite not knowing if I'd ever see Angela again.
Over the next year, Angela became the "yes" woman and really started to LIVE! She traveled all over, went to seminars, writing workshops, tried holistic therapies, plugged into support groups .... whatever she could do she did! You would have never known that inside her body was deteriorating because outwardly she was focused on thriving!
Fast forward to last November when I announced my Unplug for Self Love Retreat, coming up this May. I had talked to my sisters for years about how I could not wait to hold my first retreat and it was finally happening! When the retreat went live online, Angela was the first to sign up within an hour of it posting. She didn't even call me she just registered online and when I saw her name pop up I lit up! I immediately called her and we giggled about how excited we were ! She was ecstatic for me and could not wait to attend the retreat! Shortly after that, Tracy signed up and it became extra special. This would be the first time the 3 of us would be together in person and we we couldn't wait. Unfortunately the universe had other plans ....
1 week ago, something very strong inside me told me to reach out to Angela so I called her and we had an amazing conversation. She shared with me that she was in temporary hospice, waiting for a bed to open in a different facility. She also shared with me that she had fallen, hurt herself and now needed a wheel chair to get around. Despite this, she was still her vibrant self and in fact sounded like she was on vacation! You would never know this was someone who was now actively starting the dying process.
She shared with me that people ask her how she can be so upbeat right now and then she said something that I will never forget, that perfectly sums up Angela - she said, "Heather my soul feels the same - it's just my body that's giving out." This gives you a glimpse into who Angela was. She was BY FAR the most amazing spirit I've ever met! Sure she had her moments of despair, "why me" and fear but she would pick herself right back up and say "I'm not going to let cancer dull my spirit!" She continued to live in a space of love and gratitude always!
We talked about the retreat and she said to me, "you know me I may jump out of this wheel chair next week and be able to hop on a plane just fine!" I wanted to honor that positive space she was in, although we both knew in our hear of hearts, she would not be attending the retreat. I asked her who or what charity I should send her retreat money too, in the event we lose the ability to communicate. Her response will stay with me forever! She said, "Heather I am your friend, sister and biggest fan! Holding this retreat has been a dream of yours for years and I'm so incredibly proud of you for living out your dreams ... you're doing it!! This retreat is going to be amazing and no matter what happens with me, I want that money to be a donation to your retreat." Of course tears streamed down my face over this complete act of love and for being blessed enough to have this woman in my life.
I learned SO much from Angela on the importance of gratitude and living each day as if it's your last. I'm sure had you asked her, I was brought into her life to help her but I assure you, it ran both ways. She enriched my life on so many levels and I will forever be grateful for the footprints she left in my life.
So I got together with my girls who are helping me put on my retreat and we came up with something to honor Angela in a cool way! We are going to pay it forward and gift her retreat spot to one lucky lady warrior! That's right, one amazing woman will be coming to our Unplug for Self Love Retreat for FREE! This is a value of $475 and we can't wait to spoil a deserving lady :) Watch the video below to find out how you can nominate someone to win this incredible opportunity! For full details of what this prize will include, you can visit the event web page at https://www.heathercdalton.com/events (airfare is not included if applicable!)
I know Angela is looking down and thrilled we are doing this! Her spirit will definitely be with us at the retreat and beyond! Rest in peace my sister - you are free from cancer and are now able to dance among the stars xxoo